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McIntosh Apple

Will Ship Spring 2024

Plant Type: Dormant, bare-root

Zones:  4-7

Soil Type:  Clay, Loamy & Sandy Soils

Site Selection: Full Sun

Mature Height & Width:  15' Height and 5-7' Spread

Growth Rate:  Moderate - 12-24" per year once established

Moisture Requirements: Average

Plant Characteristics

McIntosh Apple Tree

The McIntosh apple is a classic medium sized red apple characterized by a firm and juicy texture. The flesh from this all purpose apple is white, although sometimes shades of green and pink can be noted. Taste ranges from slightly tart when picked early to sweet as the apple continues to ripen. Generally, these apples are eaten fresh out of hand, for making apple sauce or used in combination with other varieties for baking. The McIntosh apple will store for 1 to 3 months when refrigerated although it is susceptible to flesh softening during that time. This apple tree needs another pollinator of a different variety planted within 50' of it in order to ensure proper pollination. All of our apple trees will pollinate one another. Apple trees prefer deep, fertile, moist but well drained soil but will grow in clay and sandy soil as well.

Click on the "More Info" tab below for proper planting and care information.

*This Apple tree is a semi dwarf size and should reach about 15' in height with a spread of 5-7' at maturity. A whip is simply a younger tree with little or no side branching. This semi-dwarf apple tree is grown on MM111 root stock.

Planting Instructions for Apple Trees

Site selection

First off, make sure you pick a correct planting location.  Apple trees should receive at least 6 hours of full sun during the day.  When possible, it is beneficial to have morning sunlight shine on your apple trees.  This will help dry the dew which has formed on the leaves overnight and greatly lower the chance of diseases such as powdery mildew. 

Soil considerations

Apple trees prefer deep soil that is not compacted and is well drained.  If you are planting one in an area of heavy clay, a spot which was compacted by heavy equipment such as a bulldozer, or an area which is routinely wet, seriously consider making a raised planting bed.  The bed should be 1.5’ to 2’ deep and six to eight feet wide.  Fill the bed with rich topsoil, a sandy loam mixture is ideal when available.  A bed such as this will let the roots penetrate the soil and allow proper drainage to occur.

Planting method and root depth

Soak the apple tree in a bucket or tub of water for 3-4 hours prior to planting.  This will allow the tree to properly hydrate before it is placed into the ground.  Next, dig your planting hole large enough that all of the roots are naturally spread out.  The ideal position of the roots when the tree is planted is the same position they are in before planting.  The roots of the tree should not be bent up or down or curl around inside of the planting hole. The planting depth is important too.  Use a bamboo stake or other thin, rigid object and lay it across the planting hole.  Look for the soil line on the tree from when it was removed from its original planting location and plant the tree at the same depth.  If no soil line is visible, plant the tree so the graft union is visible at the soil line.  The graft union should not be out of the ground and it should not be buried.  Fill the planting hole with soil and firm the soil around the root system.  Be sure that the soil is firm enough that it will not settle when watered and that the roots are not too compacted.  Soak the planting site well and recheck the planting depth one last time.


Making sure your new apple trees receive the proper amount of moisture is critical to their survival.  It is important that the trees get a deep watering at least once per week from either a rain event or a supplemental watering that you do yourself.  Trees receiving too much regular watering can be killed.  A thorough soaking and then letting them sit for the next week is ideal rather than watering each day.  This also forces the roots down into the soil rather than staying shallow.  We recommend placing a layer of mulch which is 2-3’ wide and 3-5” deep around your newly planted tree.  This will help the soil retain moisture and help moderate the temperature around the root zone.  Just be sure that the mulch does not touch the trunk of the tree.  Mulch up against the trunk of a tree can cause moisture to build up, and create an ideal place for insects and pests, diseases and decay.

Protecting your trees

Finally, it is important to protect your trees from the pests of the furry variety.  Rabbits and deer are the worst offenders and can make short work of fruit trees, especially younger ones.  If rabbits or deer are a problem in your area, place a fence that is 48” high and 3-4’ in diameter around your trees.  This last step will save you the headaches of coming to find damage or destruction of your own orchard.

Product Questions

Are two trees needed for proper pollination?
Question by: Elaine on Jan 24, 2021, 10:55 AM
Yes, you will need two different apple species for proper pollination. All of the apple varieties we sell will pollinate one another.
Answer by: Chief River Nursery on Jan 25, 2021, 9:43 AM
You say to pollinate properly you should have a different species, what species would be best and why not use two McIntosh trees?
Question by: Tim Shalosky on Mar 4, 2022, 11:57 AM
Any of the apple trees we sell will pollinate another. We need to discuss a bit of biology here. Fruit will form when the female flower is fertilized with pollen from another compatible variety of apple tree. Apple blossoms are pollinated when pollen is transferred from the stemlike anthers to the pistils protruding from the center of another blossom via insect or animal. Fertilization depends on whether the female flower is receptive and whether the varieties are compatible. Female apple blossoms cannot recognize pollen from an apple tree of the same variety as a fertile source of genetic material.
Answer by: Chief River Nursery on Mar 4, 2022, 1:00 PM